Travel high on wish lists amid ‘radical shift’ in post-COVID consumer behaviour

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More than a third of households who saved money during lockdowns are planning a post-coronavirus holiday, with a survey finding pent-up demand for road trips, day spas and theme park visits.

But 18 per cent of respondents to the Boston Consulting Group survey want to spend less in general and 17 per cent plan to use savings to make extra mortgage repayments or pay off other loans.

Road trips, theme parks and spa days are on families’ post-COVID wish lists.Credit:iStockphoto

Out of the 3000 people surveyed by the management consulting firm in late October and early November, about 55 per cent managed to save amid COVID-19 restrictions. Savers were typically professionals working full-time and the majority kept their jobs during the pandemic.

At the moment, 64 per cent of respondents are spending less than they did pre-COVID and there has been a trend away from spending on alcohol, jewellery, cosmetics and luxury brands.

While 13 per cent of consumers are now travelling more than pre-COVID, this figure is expected to rise to 42 per cent next year. The majority of the planned travel is interstate, with concerns about coronavirus restrictions weighing on Australians’ decisions to head offshore.

A further 19 per cent of survey respondents said they would use their extra savings for investments, such as shares or property.

BCG managing director and partner Monica Wegner said most consumers indicated their finances, saving and spending would be different post-pandemic.

“But we also know that those who plan to spend are mostly looking to spend on leisure and travel in addition to their health and wellbeing,” Ms Wegner said.

“We are seeing pent-up demand across several categories, including travel, spas, clothing, theme parks and cinemas. We expect these categories to experience a significant uptick in sales, with in-store sales seeing a rebound in popularity for retail categories,” she said.

The survey also saw a shift towards health and wellbeing products, purchases supporting small local businesses and an increased appetite for fresh produce.

“There will be a radical shift in consumer behaviour post COVID-19,” Ms Wegner said. “We expect a much-needed boost to the travel and retail sectors, both of which have had a tough couple of years.”

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